Music has been around since ancient times. The music industry, not so much.
And trying to learn how to properly market your music, podcast and other audio can be a bit of a drag online when you can spend hours upon hours reading all that you can…and still come out feeling exhausted and non-productive.
But no worries, marketing your audio is easier than you think. You just have to remember the one thing that makes people buy audio.
It’s all about a situation…
Music (and audio in general) is situational. People listen to things, even by accident, depending solely on the situation they are in. Because of this, people will listen to music and other audio when
- they’re sad, angry, happy or in any mood they want to connect with emotionally
- they’re doing something like studying, cleaning, working, going to sleep etc.
- they’re in a place where music is being played directly or in a general way
And there are other situations. But when you look at those first two bullet points, these are people who want to listen to something while they’re in their current situation. While the other bullet point are people who come into contact with music and audio if it’s being offered in the place they’re at or going to.
One listens because they want to, the other listens by chance. And the first group of people are the ones you want as your audience because they are the ones who buy. You just have to remember that people buy music and audio that goes with their situation (or mood).
The Scoring Technique
Back in 2006 when I went to college at SUNY BCC for Audio & Sound Engineering, our first semester final project was to create a soundtrack. Now in relation to marketing this wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense to me at this point, until 10 years I got my first gig making a soundtrack for a silent movie.
Working with 1Hood Media in Pittsburgh, PA, we made a Hip Hop soundtrack for the classic silent film “Body & Soul” by creating around the emotions/mood of the movie, scene by scene. In essence, you wanted your music to match what was going on in the movie scene, much like an orchestra would do during a play. This very technique, “The Scoring Technique”, allows the producer to accurately capture the emotion of the scene so that it works perfectly with the music.
“So how does this work with my music and audio marketing?”
Once you see that music and audio are situation based and that people only listen when they have a situation that calls for it, you understand you have to sell to the situation and not to the person specifically. Or in business terms, you have to sell to the problem and not the customer.
And “to score” in marketing, is “to attach it” to something.
When you “Score” your music or audio to something bigger than yourself, like a situation or an important time in life, you enter into the realm of “classic and timeless.” Think about one of your favorite albums and think about what time in your life you heard it.
Was it during a time when it was a relief to hear it? Probably. And because music directly effects and works with our emotions, it makes it that much stronger when heard at “the right time.”
So here’s how it works
There are 3 easy steps to “The Scoring Technique” I have lined out. They are
- take one of your songs, albums or podcasts and identify the main theme/situation being addressed
- write down 3 feelings or moods expressed in the audio
- promote your audio to people who feel this way about that situation using Content Marketing (blogs,videos,photos).
Step #1 – Identify the theme/situation
In the first step, you have to start with a piece of audio content you’ve already created. For music artists & producers this can be a single, instrumental or music project. For podcast producers & broadcasters you would go with an episode (or a whole season if you have that already).
Once you have your audio piece, define what the main theme and situation is. “What is it mainly about?”. For example, my song “Broken Pieces”featuring Patience Roy’al is a song about personally dealing with the world we see and the depression that comes from it, specifically suicide and homicides as a youth. So the theme is or about
“personally dealing with the world we see and the depression that comes from it like suicide”
You just need to keep it simple so you have something to build on.
Step #2 – Write down 3 feelings or moods
Next, you’ll want to the 3 main feelings or moods that you specifically address in your audio. This is where you can’t afford to be too broad and general, because this is the important step in getting this technique right. This step gives you the reason of why the listener should give a damn to listen to what you’re offering in the first place.
So let’s take the same song from Step #1, “Broken Pieces” and use that for the continued example.
We know what “Broken Pieces” is about, right?
“personally dealing with the world we see and the depression that comes from it”
The problems and feelings that are addressed are
- lonliness, feeling lonely
- feeling hopeless (constantly seeing death, especially of youth)
- my smile is in/made of broken pieces
See how we have an overall theme or mood to pull from and problems/feelings to connect our audio to? This leads into the last step…
Step #3 – Promote your music/audio to people who feel this way about that situation
The last step is promoting your music or audio, but not just any kind of way. The “Content Marketing” way.
Content Marketing is a specific marketing strategy advertisers and promoters use to give more reach to the product they’re selling. It can come in a variety of ways like social media posts, a series of blog posts, a music video, a photo shoot or a simple graphic cover.
This is the hardest part people have problems with, not that it’s difficult, but it requires you to believe in yourself, your skills and your vision. Believe in YOU. You don’t need a million dollar or even a $1000 budget. You just need faith, belief in yourself and a good plan to work with.
Once you have your first promo piece ready for your Content Marketing, you can write a little blurb to accompany it like
“Broken Pieces” is the soundtrack for the smile that’s made of broken pieces and shattered by a constantly fighting world.”
See how easy that was? Here’s the formula
‘Name of Audio’ (step #1) is the soundtrack for ‘the problem/feeling you addressed’ (step #2)
And that’s it!
If you follow and use “The Scoring Technique”, not only will you sell your music and audio, but you will also start to build a loyal fanbase and listenership that appreciate you creating the soundtrack to their problems and situation.
In a music and audio climate that is “thriving” off of trendy and cookie cutter formats, this is the true way to score and get a win-win for both you and your listeners.